Monday, September 3, 2012

What Is the Protein Power Diet?


What Is the Protein Power Diet?

The popularity of low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets is not as high as it was years ago when Protein Power graced the New York Times best-seller list for over a year. However, low-carb, high-protein diets continue to offer weight loss options.
Written by a married couple of MDs, Michael R. and Mary Dan Eades, the book promises that you will "feel fit and boost your health -- in just weeks!" The cover includes praise from one of their diet-expert-author competitors, Barry Sears, author of The Zone, who calls their book nothing less than "The Nutritional Primer of the Nineties

What sets Protein Power apart is the wealth of historical information about low-carbohydrate diets and how these have influenced dieters galore, ever since William Banting wrote his Letter on Corpulence in the mid 1800s. The Eades also provide scientific explanations for the functions of insulin and glucagons, the major hormones involved in the food-to-fuel process, along with plenty of encouragement and practical suggestions, such as what to order in a French restaurant or fast food joint.

What You Can Eat on the Protein Power Diet

Those of you who crave steak, eggs, and cheese will have a great time on the Protein Power diet. Vegetarians will not, because tofu is the main source of protein allowed non-meat eaters. And as even the most dedicated know, tofu three times a day can get tiresome.
To determine your daily protein quotient, the authors take you through a series of steps and measurements to determine your body fat and lean body mass, as well as ask you to assess your physical activity level.
You may choose your protein from fish, poultry, red meat, low-fat cheese (cottage cheese, feta, mozzarella, Muenster), eggs, and tofu. If you want to lose a lot of fat (the authors don't say you lose weight, but fat instead) or correct a health problem, you can add only 30 grams of carbohydrate, or less, divided throughout the day. If your need to lose is not so great, you can up that quota to 55 grams per day. Favorite low-carb foods? Lists of low-carb fruits and vegetables are given to make your life easier. These include leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, celery, cucumber, mushrooms, and a surprise fruit that rarely makes the diet sweepstakes: avocado, high in fat, but low in carbs.
Add in 25 grams of fiber (you can subtract the fiber grams from the carbohydrate grams in commercially processed foods, which gives you more carbs to play with), and healthy fats: olive and nut oils, avocado, and butter. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. And a glass of wine or a light beer is OK, but their carbs count, to

Most experts draw the line at 1,200

Most experts draw the line at 1,200 calories as the minimum needed for adequate nutrition, and say that dieters should not dip below this number unless they're under a physician's care.
"Any time you severely lower your calories, it is strongly recommended to consult your doctor to avoid potential complications," says Carolyn O'Neil, MS, RD.
American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, agrees that the Medifast diet should be done with the approval or under the supervision of your health care provider. She says has used the program in a doctor's office with diabetic patients with good results.
"This is a solid program, providing a nutritionally complete array of tasty foods and drinks that are ideal for diabetics or anyone who doesn't want to weigh, measure, count calories, or prepare lots of food," says Brown-Riggs.
She also says she thinks Medifast is a great program for anyone who wants a serious, low-calorie diet plan in which all the guesswork has been removed.
O'Neil, author of The Dish on Healthy Eating, suggests that anyone thinking of weight loss surgery try Medifast or another very low-calorie diet plan first.
"Weight loss surgery should be the last resort because even if you have bariatric surgery, afterward you still need to follow a healthy lifestyle, including calorie control and regular physical activity," O'Neil says.
When considering the Medifast diet, dieters should think past the weight loss phase. The real challenge comes when you wean yourself from the meal replacements and have to learn to make healthy decisions about food.
"You can lose weight on the plan because it is so carefully controlled," says Brown-Riggs. "But once you go off the plan, it takes hard work, attention to healthy eating, and regular physical activity to maintain the lost weight."

Medifast Diet Plan: Food for Thought

It doesn't get much easier than the Medifast program, which is probably why it has been around so long. It can be a good plan for someone who needs to lose a substantial amount of weight, and ideally, should be done under a doctor's supervision.
Be prepared for a serious adjustment to very little to eat and drink (other than no-calorie beverages). But if you're serious about losing weight and prepared to change your eating and exercise habits after the weight loss phase, this could be the plan for you.

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD and the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

Healthy 'n Tasty Back-to-School Lunches

It’s time to head back to school! Whether it’s you or your children heading back to school, it’s the perfect time to think about planning healthy meals. Healthy meals improve concentration, keep energy levels up and help control weight. 

Read on for ideas, recipes and tips that will mesh with your and your family’s busy lifestyle. So make it a family affair and be healthy together!

Why Pack It? 

• According to the National Restaurant Association, about 60% of people consume a commercially prepared lunch at least once a week and almost 25% consume commercially prepared items five or more times per week! Eating out once a week isn’t so bad, but eating out several times a week can make it hard to stick to a healthy diet.
• Busy people are a marketing target for fast food and chain restaurants – this includes working women and men as well as teenagers. Ignore the marketing, make your own decisions and bring your lunch!
• Bringing your own lunch is a sure fire way to eat healthier – doing so will save you calories, sodium, fat, saturated fat, trans fat and help you add fiber, fruits and vegetables to your diet. 
• In addition to eating healthier, you will also probably get more done! Traveling to and from the restaurant takes time – just think, you could eat and still have time for noontime walk!

“Brown Bagging” Tips - Packing a lunch doesn’t have to be a lot of work!

• Make your lunch when you’re making dinner – if you are already prepping and cooking, why not take of lunch too!
• Buy an insulated lunch carrier to keep foods cold and/or hot. This will help with environment too – no bags to throw away or recycle.
• Balance your lunch with whole grains, fruits and veggies and lean protein.
• Utilize leftovers – save that extra chicken for wraps, sandwiches or salads or bring extra soup in a thermos! 

Lunch Showdown – Look at the Savings!

“Meal Deal” (Fast Food)

• Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s
• Medium Fries
• Medium Soda

~1,100 calories

Real Meal Deal (Packed Lunch)

• Turkey breast sandwich (3 ounces) on whole wheat bread with spicy mustard, lettuce and tomato.
• 1 ounce baked chips
• 1 piece fruit
• 1 can diet soda

~550 calories

“Meal Deal” (Fast Food)

• Chipotle Chicken Salad from Carl’s Jr.
• Chocolate chip cookie from Carl’s Jr.

1,230 calories

Real Meal Deal (Packed Lunch)

• 3 ounce grilled chicken breast over mixed greens and veggies with low-fat dressing
• 1 large melon wedge
• 1 small cookie
• Water or unsweetened tea

~570 calories

“Meal Deal” (Fast Food)

• Chicken burrito from Chipotle
• Medium Raspberry Iced-Tea

~1353 calories

Real Meal Deal (Packed Lunch)

• Whole wheat tortilla stuffed with black beans, corn, shredded lettuce, 2 tbsp cheese and salsa
• 1 ounce baked tortilla chips
• Water

~470 calories

Take Advantage Of Fitness Freebies For Students

EDITOR'S NOTE: Please welcome college post-graduate student Kristina Maury to our blooming family of featured bloggers. Kristina, a first-year law student at Harvard will entertain and inform us on keeping fit and eating well while at school.

When you’re paying thousands of dollars a year for college, you want to make sure to take advantage of everything your school has to offer. Most universities allow students to utilize its gym facilities at no cost -- and many offer free or reduced-price group exercise courses too!

You’ll really benefit from a fitness course if you’re new to working out and you don’t know where to begin or if you have a hard time staying motivated (when you see your peers busting their butts, you’ll be more likely to keep up).

Fitness courses are also a great way to meet other students.

I decided to check out a Hatha Yoga fitness class that lasted for an hour and 25 minutes. Hatha Yoga, according to the gym’s course description, helps “the mind, body and spirit come into alignment and unite.” 

Between you and me, I went into the class thinking it would be a breeze. I figured, "how hard can a couple of stretches be?" Boy, was I wrong!

We started off slowly with breathing techniques and light stretching, but by the first half hour I was twisted up like a contortionist, sweating profusely and wondering what I had gotten myself into. 

My favorite part of the course: the end when the instructor turned off the lights, played meditation music and allowed us to drift into “Nirvana.” Nirvana nothing... all I could think about was the pain coursing through my body. 

Tips, Ahoy!

--If you’re doing Yoga or any other form of exercise that requires props (e.g. Yoga mats) be sure to inquire if your school’s gym provides these materials or if you will need to bring your own. 

--Embarrassing yourself is no fun so be sure you’re attending a fitness course that’s catered toward your level of expertise. 

--If you’ve never done Yoga before and you aren’t flexible, go to the gym a bit early to stretch beforehand.

--Clear your head. It’s hard to attain mental enlightenment when all you can think about is your to-do list.

I made the mistake of going to the Yoga class on a Sunday evening before I had even begun my reading and assignments for school on Monday. If you’re like me and you have a hard time clearing your mind, I think you’d get the most benefit from Yoga if you have already made a dent in your to-do list. 

Making the Grades

Hatha Yoga, C+
It made me sweat, but I didn’t achieve peace of mind. 

Group exercise, A+ 
I love the idea of group exercise and I’m definitely going to check out some other class offerings.

ABOUT ME: In undergrad, my idea of exercise included dancing in clubs into the wee hours and walking to and from classes. As for my diet, breakfast consisted of Red Bulls and 3 a.m. IHOP visits, lunch was generally non-existent and pizza was a late-night staple. Now that I'm in grad school, I've come to realize the important roles that health and fitness play when it comes to academic success. I'm no longer "allergic" to sweat and I make an effort to fit the gym into my hectic schedule. Although I'm still no stranger to Red Bull, my new and improved lifestyle is helping me to make the grade.

10 Fast, Flavorful Grab 'n Go Breakfasts

ou may be tempted to skip breakfast, but that’s a shame because of all the wonderful benefits breakfast offers.

And, it couldn’t be easier. I’ll show you how with 10 great grab 'n go breakfasts!

First, examine your breakfast habits: 

How many days out of the week do you eat breakfast? Hopefully your answer is everyday! However, if you skip breakfast frequently, try asking yourself why.

Is it because you are not hungry in the morning or you don’t have time? Or, is it because you think breakfast will make you hungry the rest of the day or because you think it will help you lose weight?

No matter what your reason is for skipping breakfast, there is a solution and yes, it is still important to start your day with a nutritious meal.

Breakfast can be quick, satisfying and tasty with a preparation time of 10 minutes or less.

Second, challenge common excuses for skipping breakfast

• You are not hungry – practice makes perfect! The more you eat breakfast, the more your body will crave it. Also, take a look at your portions the night before. Skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day leaving you less hungry in the morning.

• Breakfast will make me hungry all day – it is good and normal to be hungry at intervals throughout the day! Ideally, you should try to eat every 3-4 hours to keep your engine humming, prevent cravings and mood swings and improve energy levels.

• Skipping breakfast will help me lose weight – wrong! In fact, a common trait among people who successfully lose weight and keep it off is that they start the day with breakfast!

• I don’t have time – breakfast can be as easy as grabbing a few items and heading out the door. Or, you can prepare something up the night before – try the recipe below for a no-fuss breakfast!

Super Fast Grab-n-Go Breakfast Ideas

• Small whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese and banana

• Whole grain toaster waffle with peanut butter, sliced strawberries and all-fruit jam

• Meal replacement bar and fruit

• Hard boiled egg (boil the night before), whole grain toast & grapes

• String cheese, apple and low-fat granola bar

Healthy Breakfast Picks on the Road
• Jamba Juice Yogurt and Fruit Blend – try a protein or fiber boost (220 calories, 0.5g fat)

• Starbucks Orange Mango Smoothie (250 calories, 16 g protein, 5g fiber)

• Starbucks Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon, Egg and Cheddar Sandwich (350 calories, 11g fat)

• Dunkin' Donuts Smart Menu Egg White Veggie Flatbread Sandwich (290 calories, 9g fat)

• LaBou Creamy Oatmeal Cereal (266-279 calories, 3-8 g fat)

Pack Your Lunch!

 Bring A Lunch And Eat Better 

“Brown-bagging” it for lunch isn’t just for children! Brown bag lunches can be exciting, tasty and easy. Furthermore, you are more likely to eat healthier and save money when you prepare your own lunch. Fuel your body with exciting flavors and nutrients with the following ideas and alternatives.

Brown Bag Basics:• Include “color” by adding fruits or vegetables to your lunch.
• Include a low-fat source of calcium such as light yogurt, low-fat milk or soy milk, low-fat cottage cheese or lower-fat cheese.
• Include a good source of fiber such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, beans, brown rice or whole wheat crackers.
• Skip the sugary beverages.
• Keep portion sizes in check. Use zip-lock snack baggies or buy already portion controlled crackers, cookies and popcorn.
• Utilize left-over items from dinner!
• Brown bag lunches don’t have to come in a paper bag! Try an updated, adult version by using an insulated lunch bag. Keep items chilled with a frozen water bottle or ice pack and carry a thermos for hot items.

Better Brown Bag Options

Instead of:

Croissant with Tuna Salad


Tuna salad made with low-fat mayo on a whole wheat English muffin with shredded carrots, spinach leaves and sliced tomatoes 

Instead of:

BLT on Sourdough


Soy bacon, sliced tomato, thin spread of avocado, leafy green lettuce on whole wheat bread

Instead of:

Store Bought Wrap 


Whole wheat tortilla with hummus, chopped cucumber, chopped tomato, reduced-fat feta cheese, shredded purple cabbage and spinach leaves.

Instead of:



Veggie burger in a whole wheat pita pocket with reduced-fat cheese, spicy mustard or barbeque sauce, lettuce and roasted red peppers

Instead of:

PB&J on White Bread


Natural peanut butter on whole grain toast with sliced bananas and strawberries

Tasty Sides (round out your lunch your lunch with the following ideas):
• Melon balls and grapes
• Low-fat cottage cheese cups
• Low-fat string cheese and fruit
• Unsweetened applesauce cup 
• Light Laughing Cow cheese and 100-Calorie Wheat Thin pack
• Snack size 94% fat free popcorn (choose popcorn without trans fat or “partially hydrogenated oil”) and baby carrots
• Rabbit bag (carrots, cucumbers, red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and celery) with hummus
• Low-fat granola bar
• Apple slices and handful of almonds

Make a pledge to pack your lunch each day this week!

Easter Basket Makeover

What's in Your Easter Basket?

An egg here, a handful there, a little candy at the office – you know how it goes! Just look at how a little Easter candy can add up! 

Keeping candy out of sight and out of mind will help you avoid the temptation. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid all candy -you can still enjoy Easter candy in moderation. Try having a designated candy spot in your house and plan a piece or two into you day. Just as you manage your kid’s candy intake – set the same rules for yourself.

Before you fill the Easter basekts, arm yourself with the info to help you avoid mindless candy munching. Below are some Easter candy facts and don’t forget about tools designed to help you, such as tracking the candy you eat in your tracker and checking the back of packages before you do away with them.

Easter Candy Facts:

• Hershey Easter Kisses: 8 pieces = 210 calories and 12 g fat
• Brach’s Candy Chicks and Rabbits: 6 pieces = 150 calories and 2 g fat
• Brach’s Easter Candy Corns: 26 pieces = 140 calories and 0 g fat
• Cadbury Mini Eggs: 12 pieces = 200 calories and 9 g fat
• Hershey Candy Coated Eggs: 9 pieces = 200 calories and 9 g fat
• Peep’s Marshmallow Chicks: 5 pieces = 160 calories and 2 g fat
• Nestle Milk Chocolate Eggs: 6 pieces = 230 calories, 13 g fat
• Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs: 1 piece = 180 calories and 10 g fat
• Russell Stover Chocolate Bunny: 1 piece = 240 calories and 15 g fat
• Starburst Jelly Beans: 1.5 ounce = 150 calories and 2 g fat
• Sweetarts Eggs: 12 pieces = 60 calories and 2 g fat
• Whoppers Robin Eggs: 8 pieces = 170 calories and 5 g fat

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas:

Instead of reaching for a variety of candy to stuff Easter baskets with, try the following items instead:

• Colorful pencils
• Stickers
• Sugar-free gum
• Tangerines
• Plastic eggs filled with fun trinkets
• Water color paints and coloring sheets
• Candles
• Gift certificates or cards
• Picture frames filled with memorable photos
• Lotions 

Don't forget about organizing an Easter egg hunt to get everyone moving!